The Grass isn’t always Greener…by Seema Dhanak
Ok! So in writing this, I must also reveal my guilty confession: after much convincing and arm twisting from my non soni friends, they managed to persuade me to come to their community’s Garba; I won’t say which community they’re from but as they claim to host Europe’s largest garba – I thought it would be interesting to go and see what it was all about. First hand, I share my experience with you…
I was told to get there early to ‘avoid disappointment’. On arrival we hurried into an entrance that lead to the grand Marquee which is said to host up to 3000 people at capacity. We bought our tickets, our bags were searched and our hands stamped with UV ink as we walked in. I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people and instinctively grabbed the hands of my mum and son in case they got lost in the crowd. People pushed and shoved for space just to stand in the crowd.
The music blared loudly struggling to get to all corners of the marquee yet was lost in the hussle and bussle of people furiously competing to out-play each other in garba. It was at this point the penny really I dropped!
I missed us. I missed the warm feeling of being greeted by familiar faces; I missed the feeling of belonging and felt for sure like I didn’t really belong here. it made me realise even more so than ever just how important it is to keep alive the unspoken bond that we all have with each other – the bond that we call our community.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything we can’t learn from others to enhance our own.
As the evening went on, my friends talked proudly of how the musicians were from their own community, how they have regular meet ups, activities for the children including Gujarati and Music Classes all in-house. They host summer melas, talent competitions etc; it got me thinking…
Surely with PPA’s talent pool we too could provide these activities and so much more, albeit on a smaller scale.
Do we really leverage the professional talent we have and make a commitment to maximise each other’s potential? How many of us are in professions whose skills could be used to help those less fortunate in our community (social workers/benefits/housing advisers, teachers etc?).
It’s human nature to feel a sense of pride when you know you have made a difference to a person’s life and sometimes all it takes is a few good words of advice….hmmm…despite all that was present in the community I visited, the other thing that was lacking from the other community was…a few good words of advice.
Inspirational people, whom I’ve have grown up with and respect, up there on centre stage, receiving rightly deserved acknowledgement and encouragement for the work they have done for the Soni community. Furthermore to see the President take time out of his responsibilities to specially welcome guests from Leicester was the sort of gesture we’ve all grown up with but forget to implement; that the idea that guests are always to welcome in the highest possible way.
So the last of day of Navratri left me with one feeling – this is my community; for better or for worse and in the same way vows are taken, I think we should vow that when things are done well, we can thank ourselves and when it doesn’t work, we need to take responsibility and work on it together.
I’d love to hear your thoughts below…